Any gender and age can have hypothyroidism, but here are some potential factors that increase the risk of developing one.
- Is a woman
- Elderly, ages beyond 60
- Existing autoimmune disease
- Family history of thyroid disease
- Partial thyroidectomy
- Mothers who have been pregnant and delivered a baby
If hypothyroidism is left untreated for a long time, it may lead to severe complications, including the following:
This is an enlargement and swelling of the thyroid that causes a lump on the neck. It may also affect your physical appearance and cause difficulty while eating.
A defect in thyroid gland hormone production increases cholesterol levels. This cholesterol may cause heart disease, and may even lead to a heart attack, as it blocks the blood flow in the artery.
Pregnant women with untreated hypothyroidism are at risk of premature birth, miscarriage, and loss of a baby during delivery. Their babies are also at risk for having intellectual problems and poor development.
Low thyroid hormones affect the chances of women getting pregnant. This is due to difficulty in releasing the egg from the ovary.
Hypothyroidism can worsen depression, until it gets treated.
This is a rare complication that occurs from severe hypothyroidism that is left untreated. It results in a poor mental state, hypothermia, respiratory failure, and cardiogenic shock.
Doctors perform a physical exam to check for signs and symptoms. They may also require a blood test to screen the body’s levels of thyroid-stimulating hormone (TSH) and thyroid thyroxine (T4).
The standard treatment for hypothyroidism is levothyroxine monotherapy. This treatment aims to replace the T4 that the thyroid does not produce anymore.
The dosage of the medication depends on the patient’s weight and condition. The dosage may be adjusted following a blood test and screening for thyroid hormones. Follow-up blood tests may occur after six months, and annually thereafter.
Hypothyroidism is a common disease, especially among women. It refers to an underactive thyroid gland. Many patients do not realize that they have this condition because of little or no symptoms. In most cases, symptoms only occur when the disease is becoming more severe. If hypothyroidism is left untreated, it may cause more life-threatening health problems. Consult a doctor once symptoms become evident.
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